There is more to Linux than software

Unlike other operating systems that come from corporations, Linux comes from a community. It’s a fascinating community that includes individuals, teams, non-profits, businesses of every size, corporations, hobbyists, even government organizations. It includes people of diverse ethnicities, cultures, political persuasions, faiths, age groups, educational levels, and every imaginable distinction.

Volunteer Power

This diverse community also happens to be one the world’s best examples of volunteers working together to build something for the benefit of mankind. Linus Torvalds didn’t just create the Linux kernel, but a development model for unsurpassed team collaboration.┬áPrior to Linux, Unix existed, Minux existed, GNU existed. People were already sharing code, but Linus revolutionized the collaboration process.

Good Code

The Linux community has a great track record of good citizenship. The Linux operating system as well as most of the third-party Linux software has a track record of providing code that not only performs well, but doesn’t violate user’s basic human rights and freedoms. When I say ‘good code’ I’m talking about ‘living by a code of goodness’ just as much as ‘computer code that performs well’. We’ll explore more about what it means for software to be free, open, and fair.

Declaration of Digital Independence

Like the American Revolution which was a grand social experiment in self-government, Linux and the free software movement is a revolution in digital freedom. We can now choose what goes into our computers and what doesn’t. We have more control over our private data. Our Bill of Rights includes freedoms like being able to inspect the code on our devices, change it to suit our needs, share it with others, have a fair license agreement, and protect our privacy.

For the sake of analogy, I’ve used some distinctly American references here. I should emphasize that Linux is developed by and belongs to the entire world. Linux has no political affiliation, though any group seeking to bring positive change to their community would do well to study certain examples set by the Linux community and the Linux development model.

Stay Tuned For More!

We’ll be exploring more about these topics and we’ll introduce you to more of the community members who founded Linux and make contributions. The Linux culture and community deserve to be shouted from the rooftops, written into history textbooks, and shared with others. We’ll also cover ways that you can contribute and become involved in the Linux community.

Vincent A. Brown 3-22-15

Tux logo by Larry Ewing and The GIMP 1996
Community garden icon by iconathon.org from commons.wikimedia.org

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